English 3227E Lecture Notes - Litotes, Caesura, Simile

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29 Jan 2013
This soliloquy that I will perform is said by Hamlet. At this moment in the play Claudius is
praying for forgiveness and Hamlet draws out his sword for revenge. The soliloquy that I will
perform is about Hamlet and his contemplation about killing Claudius.
a) I believe this soliloquy was to be performed with confusion and anger. Hamlet is
contemplating on killing Claudius and it is evident that the soliloquy needed feelings
of perplexity and resentment in order to create the appropriate mood.
b) This soliloquy is significant within the play because this is when Hamlet was
considering killing Claudius. Hamlets powerful decision not to kill Claudius
illuminates Hamlet’s character. With the bold decision it helped the readers in
understanding Hamlet, and his views on the death of his father. Hamlet doesn't kill
Claudius at that moment because Claudius is praying. Hamlet says that killing
Claudius now would, "send [this same villain] to heaven” instead of Hell where he
belongs. Hamlet vows to kill Claudius as Claudius had killed his father, and not send
him to heaven. The fact that Claudius is praying essentially establishes setting as we
the readers, are able to envision how Hamlet reacts to Claudius’s actions.
This soliloquy is also significant in establishing mood. Based on the context and
general frustration Hamlet faces within this scene it essentially puts the play but more
so Hamlet’s character into a distressing mood. The use of rhetorical devices, within
this soliloquy helps emphasize Hamlet’s true restlessness towards the death of his
father. “With all his crimes broad blown, as flush as May.” This simile describes how
King Hamlet unfortunately had to die with his sins in full bloom before he was able to
repent for them. This relates back to Hamlet’s conscious decision not to kill Claudius.
He doesn’t want Claudius to go to heaven when he is killed and therefore he decides
to wait to kill Claudius.
Hamlet wants to kill Claudius when he is “drunk, asleep, or in his rage, or in the
incestuous pleasure of his bed, at game-a swearing, or about some act, that has no
relish of salvation in’t.” (88-92) the use of a caesura is prominent in establishing the
mood. “When is fit and season’d for his passage? No.” (85-86). Shakespeare uses
litotes within this soliloquy. “And so am I reveng’d.” (75) Hamlet doesn’t just want to
seek revenge he wants Claudius to suffer immensely.
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